Posted June 30, 2023

Wisconsin Better Business Bureau offers tips for social media policy

With more than 70% of Americans and 80% of Canadians using some social media, social networks provide a vast opportunity to reach and engage your customers. That said, you’ll need to lay down some ground rules to ensure your business’s social media channels accurately and professionally represent your brand. Here’s what to know when developing your company’s social media policy.

What to include in your business's social media policy

Identify employees’ roles. Make it clear who can post content on the company’s social media accounts and who can engage with followers. Outline, who can access login information, will oversee social media strategies and is responsible for customer service via these channels. Make it clear who is responsible for replying to comments and messages on social media on behalf of your company. If a complaint or tense situation arises, clarify who should handle it.

Describe your brand’s voice and tone. This will help anyone responsible for posting content for your company stay on-brand. A consistent voice will help your business engage and retain customers.

Set ground rules for appropriate behavior on business social media accounts. Spell out inappropriate behavior for company social media channels, even if it seems it should go without saying. You may want to expressly prohibit profanity, hate speech, and confidential information about your business. In addition, ask employees to use proper spelling and grammar and fact-check posts from other accounts before resharing them. If you don’t want company posts to contain colloquialisms or emojis, inform your employees in this policy section.

Define your comment moderate policy. Deleting or hiding critical comments and reviews may be tempting, but that’s not always the best strategy. Define upfront when to remove comments, such as spam or profanity, and when to leave them up. Use those comments as a chance to respond and make things right.

Keep security and legal considerations in mind. Teach your employees about copyright laws and any industry regulations that might apply to your business. Make rules about using personal social media accounts on business equipment, creating strong passwords and changing them regularly, and keeping antivirus software current. You may also want to train your employees to spot scams or phishing attempts on social media. Finally, let employees know what to do if they spot a social media security issue.

Plan to handle misinformation. What’s the plan if you discover unfounded rumors or confidential information circulating on social media about your business? Determine who will set the record straight, if need be, and how they should do it.

Review your policy periodically. Social media constantly evolves, so revising your policies regularly is wise. Set up specific review dates to revisit your policy and make adjustments.

Offering guidance for employees’ personal social media use

Create guidelines for personal social media use. You can’t control what your employees do on their personal social media accounts, but you can provide guidelines about any work-related content they post. The main goal here is to let your employees know that their words and actions reflect on your brand, and people may view them as representing the company, even in personal social media posts. Of course, each industry is different, and you may not need to make any rules. Think about the following:

  • Can your employees put your company or their position at your company in their social media bio?
  • Can they upload photos of themselves at their workplace or in their work uniform?
  • If they talk about your business or other matters on social media, do they need to include a disclaimer that they are expressing personal opinions?
  • Define consequences up front. Let employees know the consequences of violating your policy. You might require your employee to apologize publicly and correct their statements. For significant issues, such as revealing company secrets, you might enforce stricter punishments, such as terminating employment. Whatever you decide, outline it in detail in the policy and stick to your guns if someone breaks the rules.